The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Journey to Nagaland', by Mildred Archer. An account of six months spent in the Naga Hills in 1947

caption: new bridle path linking Mokokchung with Tuensang
medium: diaries
person: ChubaSankalemba
location: Chimei R.
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Apart from the first three miles, the march today lay along a new bridle path which has been made during the last month. About ten miles of it is already finished and by Christmas it should reach Tuensang and link the new subdivision to Mokokchung. It has been made by each village in the neighbourhood clearing a section. Great trees have been felled, undergrowth cleared and tree-trunk bridges laid across the streams. At present the path is only two feet broad but it will gradually be widened to the usual six feet. An overseer is aligning the road so that it avoids the exhausting climbs of (129) Naga paths. Chuba is most impressed by the overseer's instruments. He can talk of nothing but the 'compass' and he is convinced that it is because of the 'compass' that the road is progressing so well.
text: The first part of the track wound through thick forest and damp gorges where the trees were draped with blankets of creeper and trails of white convolvulous. Spray from waterfalls splashed our faces at every bend of the path. We halted down by the Chimei river in a cool valley where villagers were waiting with rice-beer. Already these Sangtams look wilder and more unkept than any I have yet seen. A headman was wearing a jaunty basket-work 'toque' decorated with boars tushes and two trailing drongo feathers. As we sat a flight of parrots shot past like green arrows and a golden eagle planed above. The interpreters tell me I am the first European woman to cross the river and none of the villages which we shall now visit have ever seen one before.
text: From the river the path rose relentlessly and the last threequarters of a mile lay up an almost vertical exposed hillside. Sankalemba's basket saved my life!